Provincial budget will cause gender inequalities to worsen: study

May 24, 2016

ST.JOHN’S – The Newfoundland and Labrador budget will worsen gender inequalities in the province, says a study released today by the Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives (CCPA).

The study reviews the impacts of the 2016-17 budget on girls and women in Newfoundland and Labrador and finds it will decrease the income of the most vulnerable women, public service lay-offs will lead to greater unemployment for women, and cuts to education will negatively impact girls.

“The provincial government must take into account how their budgets do not affect people equally,” says Christine Saulnier, Director of the Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives in Halifax. “It is simply unacceptable for a government to table a budget without providing community members with information about the serious affects it has, in this case, for women given their unequal status in the province. The current budget will serve only to worsen gender inequalities in the province”

As author and gender-based analysis expert, Dr. Cyndi Brannen says of budgetary decisions, “the Newfoundland and Labrador government has an opportunity to use its fiscal power to lift the economy by narrowing the equity gaps that exist. It could choose to make the tax system fairer, and invest strategically in ways that actually advances the status of women, while helping the province immensely. The austerity approach has been shown to do exactly the opposite everywhere else it has been tried and it won’t be any different here. It will, in short, make the pre-existing inequalities between women and men even worse.”

The study makes several recommendations for the provincial government to improve its consultation process, including: using evidence-based decision making and performance-based techniques for government services; adopting progressive taxation methods; enacting pay equity legislation; and investing in women’s health. These recommendations would reduce gender inequalities, result in more women in the workforce and increase their ability to contribute to the economy, while improving their individual lives.

Mary Shortall, President, Newfoundland and Labrador Federation of Labour, had this to say, “We provided funding for this independent analysis of the budget because we believe Newfoundland and Labradorians deserve to understand its full impact. This analysis adds to our concern about austerity. Women do not deserve to bear the brunt of the austerity agenda. They are not to blame for previous government decisions. Indeed, women have been on the losing end of too many decisions because of the lack of explicit gender-sensitive planning. They already face high levels of violence, which is only exacerbated by austerity. Their resilience and hard-work should be rewarded, also because it makes economic sense to do so and the austerity approach does the exact opposite.”

–30–

Through a Gender Lens: the 2016-2017 Newfoundland and Labrador budget’s impacts on women is available for download via the CCPA website.

To arrange interviews and for more information, contact: Mary Shortall, Newfoundland and Labrador Federation of Labour at 709-754-1660, mshortall@nlfl.nf.ca; or Christine Saulnier, Nova Scotia Director, CCPA at 902-240-0926, christine@policyalternatives.ca.

Offices: